When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible. But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.  Marilyn Savant

I know a person. His greatest fear is to accidentally stumble on his spelling mistake like a tree stump in a dark corner, fall down and die. The fear of having letters getting drunk in the excitement of writing thus having them stagger out of their word into another. Ortographobia. I understand him. I understand the fear of discovering a ‘fair’ that was to be a ‘fare’ in your writing, a ‘pronounciation’ or even a word like ‘similies’. A spelling mistake is like a huge pimple on the face for a writer. It brings down a writer’s self esteem especially if it is work that has already been published and cannot be taken back for editing. At this point, a writer feels ugly, unwanted, and unattractive.

I am not a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a vain passion. No one who claims to pursue perfectionism ever succeeds in attaining it. A strand of hair is bound to rise in the blow of the wind and fall on the wrong side of the head. Lip gloss will sometimes smudge off your lips and cross over to your teeth, perfectionist or not.

We all have our ‘am’ for ‘I am’ moments. We make mistakes. Grammar Nazis at that moment pounce on us like starved lions on zebras. We deserve to be excused though. This however does not include those who willingly choose to indulge in the ‘xaxa, xema, kewl’ conversation.

Most of the times. we play editor to our woks. It is not easy for one to see their own typo, just as it is hard  to notice how undone your hair is unless someone else points it out, or how over-utilized your weave looks until a stranger stands staring at you in awe. We never see these typos. When we read, we do so with what we wanted to write in mind. We edit with an already thought out flow of words and it therefore becomes very easy to jump over a “Rediculous” because it sounds just right.

However, when we read later , we discover things that lead us into threatening self with death and other associated bitterness. It is like a piece of sukuma wiki that accidentally sticks on your front teeth the whole day. You will ulcerate yourself wondering who saw that mistake, why they didn’t tell you, what they thought of you as a writer. Writers too have self esteem that is often wounded. Readers on the other side are a very judgmental lot. We need to satisfy them. They are like wives that we leave at home and go out to earn a penny for. These readers expect nothing less than what they expect.  And they are justified to expect as much.

So dear writer. Write your work. Take some time off. Indulge in other unrelated activities. Fry some onions. Walk a dog. Stare at some clouds. Later on, come back and edit your work. At that time, the flow of the story is there yes, but writing mistakes will stand out for you to uproot.

My most made spelling mistake is a war between ‘baited’ and ‘bated’….. I always wait with baited breathe!

What’s yours?

Do excuse my staggering letters if there be any in this piece.